Finding a HDTV is hard

Finding a HDTV is a difficult thing to do, apparantly, if you’ve read up on the technology and are looking for good product. I even have a short list of what I want:

  • 1600:1 or greater contrast — Most HDTVs have this
  • HDMI port — Most HDTVs have this
  • DVI PC port — Greater than 60% of HDTVs have this
  • Size of 27 or 32 inches — the most popular LCD TV sizes
  • Viewable angle >150 degrees — Almost all HDTVs have this
  • Native HD resolution — and here’s the rub… almost no HDTVs fulfill this seemingly trivial requirement (more on this if you click “continued” below)

Almost no HDTVs I can find have native HD resolution. HD comprises two standards: 720p and 1080p. That’s 720 pixels from top to bottom, or 1080 pixels. Some large (>42 inch) HDTVs have native 1080p resolution. But I’m having trouble finding a single mid-size HDTV with native resolution. Usually, they have 1366×768 resolution. That means the screen is 768 pixels from top to bottom. But the signal it receives is only 720 pixels, so the TVs have internal hardware that rescales the image– stretches it to fill those extra pixels.

The problem is, no matter if the company makes a good rescaler or not, you’re still distorting the picture, scaling it. This introduces fuzziness, artifacts, and overall– not a “high definition” picture at all. If I’m going to buy a new TV that will, presumably, be with me for over a decade, I want a worthwhile product. A kludge that doesn’t even display pictures at it’s intended resolution isn’t the answer.

I know why they do it: manufacturing 1366×768 displays is a cheap process currently, cheap enough to make the internal rescaling hardware worth it. But it’s a disservice to their customers, and it is shoddy product.

So where can I find a native resolution HD LCD TV? Any ideas?

3 Responses to “Finding a HDTV is hard”

Hmmm. I’m sure your Google-fu is as good as mine. However, I don’t see that a small amount of upscaling really changes the picture that much. That conversion factor is simply adding a 16th pixel every 15 lines. Ideally, you could just find a 1080p native LCD and be done. Personally, I’m planning on going the projector route when I get a new TV. Everything else just seems inflexible in comparison.

Ted - February 13th, 2007 at 9:18 am

Yeah, invest in a 720i or even 1080 native resolution projector. The LCD projectors have the best contrast. Get one with a decent lumen output and you have yourself a TV replacement. Keep an eye on the cost of replacement bulbs though. HDTV…wiping your ass with $20 bills these days?

Heckmann - March 12th, 2007 at 10:21 am

Considering how bright and sunny my living room is, I think the lumen output necessary on a projector to have it function in general use (not only at night with the lights out) would probably burn a hole straight through the wall. Maybe I’m wrong. I’d love to get a projector to test with. But a good projector costs more than an HDTV!

Paradoxdruid - March 13th, 2007 at 9:27 pm

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